E3 2015: True Friendship in The Last Guardian
It was a long and agonizing wait, but there is finally a light at the end of the tunnel. The Last Guardian made a triumphant return to the video game industry spotlight during Sony's E3 2015 media briefing, sending attendees and viewers at home alike into ecstatic frenzies. The demo shown on stage is a great glimpse into what we can expect on its own, but the few minutes of footage that precedes the demo, shown exclusively at Sony's booth during the show, gives extra perspective on how deep the relationship is between the boy and the giant creature.
The pre-demo footage starts with the boy calling for the creature, known as Trico, and finding him asleep inside a building. The boy wakes Trico and they share a moment of tenderness, the boy petting the beast's face while it nuzzles up to him all cute like, Imagine when a puppy leans his face into your hand as you try to pet him and you can picture what I mean. As a matter of fact, imagine Trico always moving around like a small puppy and that's pretty accurate, making me wonder if a dog was motion-captured to be Trico for the game. As the boy starts to walk away, but Trico is unable to rise, a metal spike is lodged in his leg. Seeing this the boy climbs on top of the animal and pulls out the object, allowing Trico to rise and show some appreciation with more affection.
As Trico rises, he creates a bridge to a platform previously out of reach up by the ceiling, and the boy climbs on the massive animal's body in order to reach it. The boy enters the next room but Trico can't, his path blocked by a massive door that the boy must open. Trico starts to whimper and panic, but the boy throw him a pair of barrels containing some kind of tasty treat and the beast calms down and waits for the boy to figure out how to open the door. As the boy drops to the floor he finds a lever that removes the door blocking Trico's path and leads right into the stage demo shown at the beginning of Sony's conference.
We see the boy once again calling directions out to Trico, coaxing him to jump from one platform to another. We then see the boy jump himself, only to be caught by Trico when the jump proves to be short. We then see Trico's adverse reaction to some sort of pinwheel-looking device, which the boy must move out of the way. Notice how Trico's eye glow red when he hisses at the pinwheel and how scary he suddenly looks with those red eyes. I certainly hope that his young friend will never have to see those red eyes pointed at him.
Once the pinwheel is out of the way the platform starts to crumble, and once again the boy is saved in the air by Trico only this time by catching his tail. The beast tries to leap to a nearby platform but falls short, needing the boy to climb up his body to the platform and roll a sturdy log toward Trico for him to grab onto. Trico pulls himself up, the boy once again jumps onto the animal's body, the two leap to safety on a high cliffside and the two stand calmly looking at the surroundings that almost killed them, Trico softly scratching behind his ear like a dog before looking down at the boy for the next direction.
One of the most fascinating things to emerge from this presentation is the breadth of the relationship between the boy and Trico. Speaking in a brief video before the demo began, creative director Fumito Ueda spoke at length about how he wants the relationship between the two characters to feel authentic, as if the two are actually long time pals and not just companions in a video game adventure. He's trying to emulate the relationship between a pet and its owner, and so far that idea is more than realized. I don't know what else to expect from The Last Guardian, but I do know that the end of the long wait for its release is almost over and not a moment too soon.
The Last Guardian is scheduled to release in 2016 exclusively on the PlayStation 4. Hopefully for really real this time.